– Variety recently did a Q&A with USA Network President Chris McCumber to discuss the recently announced changes for the network. Below are highlights from WWE related questions:
You’ve spoken about the importance of live programming, with NHL playoff games coming to your air for the first time in 30 years and another night of WWE starting next year. Is this an effort to field DVR/VOD-proof programming?
WWE is such an iconic American brand, it feels thematically right to have their two biggest properties on USA Network. Having more live programing is a good thing for this network. Having “SmackDown” and doubling down on WWE is important to us. Partnering with NBC Sports Group to bring Stanley Cup playoff hockey to USA is important move for us. You’ll likely see over the next year more announcements about live sports on USA.
What does it do for you? Are you worried that the non-WWE sports audience will only come for games?
(Live sports) helps increase the reach of the network. You have a brand-new audience coming to you and one that is a very passionate audience. Right now one of the most important things to do in media is to find passionate niches of fans, whether it’s in sports or original programing, and program and market to them. The NHL and WWE have some of the most passionate fan bases out there. It really grows the whole pie for us.
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